SEASIDE HEIGHTS—Construction began on Friday, February 15th on the boardwalk here with an early morning ceremony held by the Seaside Heights Business Improvement District. The new boardwalk will replace the boardwalk that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy on October 29th.
See More Photos Here: Seaside Heights Boardwalk Reconstruction
That boardwalk was torn down this winter and a construction crew from Buterick Bulkheading of Manahawkin sunk the first piles into the ground to kick off the project, which is being managed by Sidd & Associates of Millstone Township, a subsidiary of Meco Electric of Staten Island.
It has been nearly four months since Hurricane Sandy badly damaged the old boardwalk, but Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers said it was the result of a tremendous and tireless effort by the town and the community.
“It’s a culmination of lots of hard work that started with the rescue effort, then you got into the debris clean up, getting our streets cleaned up, utilities turned back on to the bid process,” said Mayor Bill Akers. “Then we awarded the contract and then there was that period of anxiety over when they were going to drive the first pile.”
“I was more emotional than I thought I would be, and got goose bumps today,” the mayor said. “I didn’t know how it was going to affect me emotionally, but it was a wonderful day.”
“We plan on doing 64 pilings per day, which would be about a block’s length every two days,” Said Steve Carro, Vice President of Sidd and Associates. “Our crews would then work behind that installing girders, joists and decking.”
Akers said after the first two weeks, the pace should pick up to 115 pilings per day and all piles should be in place within 31 days.
Initially, borough officials said the company chosen to build the boardwalk would be granted permission to build 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, but Carro said that won’t be necessary. “We’ll be working 10 hours each day and if we need more time, you’ll be seeing us out there on weekends, but, barring any unforeseen circumstances with the delivery of material, I don’t see any problems. This is not a very complicated project as far as building, the most complicated part here is the timeframe, but we’ve been building major projects for 30 years and I am very comfortable with this.”
In the days before the February 15th kickoff, construction trailers and equipment started showing up in Seaside Heights. Sidd & Associates is utilizing the municipal parking lot on Grant Avenue for staging and storage of pilings.
The project began at Dupont Avenue and will progress northward at the pace of one block every two days, according to Carro.
Buterick Bulkheading has been subcontracted to install the pilings for the new boardwalk. Butterick has been building bulkheads, docks and decks at the Jersey Shore since 1954.
Phase two of the project will include ramps coming on and off the boardwalk, railings, plumbing, lighting and the seawall.
Akers said the main stage on the boardwalk will be rebuilt in the next phase. The north and south lifeguard stations are among four borough owned structures that need to be demolished and rebuilt.
He added that the old swing style benches from the twentieth century are coming back, but probably won’t be painted in the classic trademark Seaside Heights pinks, yellows, blues and lime greens of yesteryear, but will be pressure treated and weathered to match the rest of the boardwalk. Akers cites the cost of maintaining the benches if they’re painted wouldn’t be economically feasible as they weather the salt, sand and sun all year long.
Disaster also brings opportunity for the borough. With a complete reconstruction project, Seaside Heights will be able to design the boardwalk to capture the essence of yesteryear.
“We want to go with some of the old lighting fixtures back up there too,” he added. “If you think about it, the boardwalk has been here since the fire in 1955 and through the years as things needed to be replaced, they just used what was available during that time period, so you had a mix of 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s so we’re going to try to have a nice flow down the boardwalk.”
The boardwalk will also maintain its classic herringbone pattern for the decking, which will also use pressure treated wood.
A concrete seawall will be built along the eastern edge of the boardwalk that will come two feet above the deck of the boardwalk according to Akers.